God’s teachings are so often done via metaphor, and the harvest is a rich one.
The harvest is well underway here in central Illinois. Every year, this season brings a reminder of the wide-ranging Biblical lessons related to harvest. Most of us are so far removed from growing our own food that we may perhaps forget that our lives literally depend on the harvest, and therefore perhaps forget the equally life-or-death power of the spiritual harvest.
There’s far too much to cover in one of these posts, so I thought I’d share a starter set of passages. You can pursue this as a personal study, or perhaps as a group discussion. Note that there’s more to be found! Follow up those cross references!
- Begin with Leviticus 23:9-14 & 22. Two lessons: Nothing for me, until I have made a small offering to the One who gave it. And, the harvest isn’t only for me, it was given to be shared.
- John 4:35-38 & Matthew 9:36-38. There is a future harvest, but there is also a harvest right now, people who are ready to hear, and it falls to us, to me, (incredibly!) to be the laborers.
- Romans 1:11-13. Mutual encouragement of one another’s faith is another harvest for me to be working on now.
- 2 Corinthians 9:8-11. Several lessons. Echo of Leviticus: God’s grace abounds to us, so we are to abound in good work. God’s enormous generosity gives us not only “food” but also “seed” for sowing, with the intent of increasing the harvest of righteousness. Thanksgiving going back to God is another result.
And of course the future harvest figure Jesus refers to in John 4.
- Matthew 3:12. Messiah’s role.
- Matthew 13:38-43. Two outcomes.
- Revelation 14:14-20. Similar.
Lots more passages out there—we haven’t even touched on the prophets. I hope you’ll take the time to have a look. God’s teachings are so often done via metaphor, and the harvest is a rich one. Whenever we see a combine or hear something about crops, there are at least six things we can intentionally call to mind:
- Before taking a bite, or planning a day, give something back to God. At least say thank you!
- God’s gifts are explicitly given with the intention they be shared.
- There are people, “standing grain”, ready to be harvested, and if we don’t put in the work it won’t happen.
- There is a harvest of mutual encouragement to be worked on also.
- And a harvest of righteousness to develop in our character and our behavior, especially toward one another.
- There is a final harvest yet to come, and we really want to be the good grain gathered into the Lord’s barn.
May your own harvest be plentiful!